May is National Bicycle Safety Month and the Escondido Police Department encourages drivers and bicyclists to share the road safely not just for the month of May, but every month of the year.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to make our roadways safer,” Escondido Police Department Chief Craig Carter said. “Sharing the roadway, obeying the law, and looking out for one another are simple ways that can avoid serious issues.”
Bicycle riders must follow the same rules of the road as drivers, including stopping at stop signs, yielding to pedestrians and not riding distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. California law requires drivers to allow at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle.
“Summer is coming which means more people taking advantage of great biking weather,” Chief Carter said. “Drivers need to stay off their phones and avoid distracted driving. At the same time, bicyclists should understand and obey the law.”
In an effort to educate drivers and bicyclists on using roadways safely, the Escondido Police Department will have extra officers on patrol this month looking for violations made by drivers and bicyclists that increase the risk of crashes. Such violations include failing to yield, speeding, improper turning, riding a bike on the wrong side of the road or not following stop signs or signals.
The Escondido Police Department suggests following these tips to ensure the safety of everyone using roadways:
Drivers should look behind them before making a turn at an intersection, especially if crossing into a designated bike lane.
Drivers should use extra caution backing up or leaving a parking space.
Bicyclists should go with the flow of traffic and let faster traffic pass.
Bicyclists should make themselves visible and wear brightly colored clothing.
Bicyclists are advised to use lights from dusk to dawn (front white light and rear red flashing light or reflectors).
Bicyclists should always wear a helmet and use hand signals when turning or stopping.
Both drivers and bicyclists should avoid distractions like using their cell phone.
Funding for bicycle safety enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.